Patient journey: Oedema

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Patient journey: Oedema

Supported by medi UK
3 November 2022

Oedema is a term for soft tissue swelling, which can be caused by a number of issues. Most cases are medically treated oedema relating to cardiac, kidney or liver disease. However, there are many people living with chronic oedema relating to venous disease (e.g. varicose veins, venous leg ulcers, post deep vein thrombosis), or lymphoedema (impaired lymphatic system). In both of these cases, medicines will not help and a conservative course of treatment to correct the congestion under the skin should begin. This course includes using the correct type of compression for limb shape, skincare, movement, exercise and diet, as well as elevation of the limb at rest. Chronic oedema/lymphoedema doesn’t always cause pain but can often impact the quality of life of those living with it. Treatment should be focussed on the individual, and starting compression therapy as early as possible will bring long-term benefits. The terms ‘chronic oedema’ and ‘lymphoedema’ are often used interchangeably, yet it is important to diagnose the cause of the oedema to ensure the correct treatment is commenced. This pathway focuses on the management of both these types of oedema.

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